Local Business Spotlight: Allure West Studios

Business owners in Doylestown tell Patch what they're best known for and when they got started.

We're asking business owners in and around Doylestown to tell us about themselves. Today, we're featuring Allure West Studios.

Allure West Studios
Address: 15 E State St, Doylestown
Email address: natalie@allurewest.com
Phone number: 267-247-5858
Website: http://www.allurewest.com
Submitted by: Natalie Napoleon Wi, Principal

When did your business get started?
Allure West Studios started as Allure Photography in Washington, D.C. in 2001. At the time, I had been working in the lab at National Geographic for three years, with the ultimate dream of becoming a staff photographer.

In the meantime, another dream had been realized: My husband, Jung, and I welcomed our first son to the world (so that no one feels left out, we have three kids now).

I researched and read interviews of other women photographers at National Geographic and remember reading one article in which the photographer said that she felt as if she had missed so much of her son's childhood because she was always traveling. It was then that I decided that I wanted to develop a career and business that afforded me the opportunity to be an active part of my children's childhood experiences.

My husband was working as a server at Kinkead's, a fine dining restaurant in DC, and Bob Kinkead, the owner/chef, connected us with his photographer, Carl Cox. After assisting Carl a few times and seeing his reaction when he saw my pictures, I knew that I could do it on my own.

During my tenure with Carl, I had become close friends with another of his assistants, Rick McKee (Charlestown Photographer). He and his partner, Tara Lowry, had also just established their studio as well as becoming new parents. We became inseparable as we were immersed in building our businesses and raising our children; we offered one another support and guidance as we both ventured on very new grounds.

Both of our businesses grew and Rick and Tara ultimately settled in Charlestown, SC while Jung and I moved to San Francisco, where we opened our second studio.

It was in California where the studio flourished and where I began to really grow as a photographer and entrepreneur but I was missing the third element of my original plan—being an active part of the kids' childhoods.

Why did you choose Doylestown to open your business?  
As much as I loved the business opportunities available to me in California, I yearned to be a part of a community that embraced all three parts of me—the artist, the entrepreneur and the parent so I urged my husband (a native Californian) to move bad to the East Coast.

I grew up in Lambertville and knew that this community could support my vision. After all, I am undoubtedly a product of the culture of this area. We decided upon Doylestown for our third studio/headquarters because of the top ranking school district, the art scene, the influential Chamber of Commerce and because it was all centered around a prominent small town with big opportunities.

Just this fall alone, I’ve photographed: Philadelphia Police Chief, Charles Ramsey at a Chamber CEO Roundtable; Temple Grandin at Delaware Valley College; Mark Thompson, President and CEO of the NY Times at the renaming of the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute (Mark’s late father-in-law won the Nobel Peace Prize in Medicine for his discovery of the Hepatits B virus) and His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco at the Michener Museum.

I love Doylestown with every ounce of my being because here, I can do it all; I can be a mother, an artist and an entrepreneur. I am so grateful to the entire community for wrapping their arms around me, my family and my business to help raise us to reach the greatest heights possible in so many different capacities.

What is your business best known for?
We specialize in advertising, lifestyle, marketing, product, food, interiors, editorial, event and headshot photography. We also offer a series of group and private workshops including Intro to Digital Photography Levels 1 and 2, Intro to Lightroom and Dtown Photo Walk.

What's something interesting about your business your customers might not know?
We offer two-track mentorships featuring business and technical sessions which help new photographers establish and build a strong foundation for their new studios.

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